In a film like this, you come to expect great scenery and beautiful photography, and there certainly is plenty of that here. Unfortunately, there's not much else. The cheetah that is the star of the picture is magnificent and well-trained, but almost all of the other animals that are filmed are stock footage which is kind of unforgivable for a film of this nature. There's even one embarrassing scene in which young Lucy Deakins is bottle feeding a painfully obvious stuffed animal.
Naturally, the film is aimed at kids, or more to the point stupid kids because the film is written at that level. Most of the adults here talk in very simple sentences, and a lot of the characters of different races and cultures are stereotypes who all conveniently speak decent English. If there's one thing the folks at Disney know is how much white people hate reading subtitles.
Deakins and co-star Keith Coogan are appealing in their roles, however, but their story is less than thrilling. You never really feel like they're in any danger, and that has more to do with the pandering towards the audience than their young African guide. "Cheetah" is a film that I really tried to like. It's a harmless, good-natured family film, but that doesn't mean that it has to be this bland an uninspired. It's very possible that young, young children may like it, but today's kids are far more sophisticated than this painfully outdated film. It takes a story that's very basic to begin with and doesn't do much with it after the fact. We should be able to expect more from this brand.